Antoine Winfield Jr., sat at his father's house in The Woodlands, Texas, on Thursday night, surrounded by his family and girlfriend. That scene flashed on live TV several times late on in the first round, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell never called Winfield's name.
But when the second and third rounds begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Winfield likely won't be waiting around all night. He could be one of the first names off the board.
The former Gophers safety became a unanimous All-America this past season, leading the team with 88 tackles and seven interceptions. And while he didn't become a first-round pick just like his father, former Vikings player Antoine Winfield Sr., or the first for the Gophers' one since 2006, he's still expected to become an NFL starter within a couple seasons in the pros.
Mock drafts from various pundits have predicted Winfield to go in the second round to teams such as the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Vikings.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck called Winfield a "relentless" player with an "incredibly high I.Q." ahead of the draft Thursday.
"He's a lot in a little frame. Everybody talks about his frame, but I think that's what gives him an advantage," Fleck said. "You're getting a linebacker-type tackler, a corner coverage person, and then you're getting a wide receiver with the catch radius and the catch ability."
Another Gophers player to watch for is Tyler Johnson. The north Minneapolis native ended his college career with school records in receiving yards and touchdowns. But the wide receiver's draft projections have been varied.
Some have forecasted he goes in the third round to a team such as the Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers. But others have him in the fourth, fifth, even sixth rounds. Part of that might be because of his speed, since he never publicly tested his 40-yard-dash time.
"Tyler Johnson is one of the best football players in the country, period," Fleck said. "One of the best wide receivers in the country, period. He has been nothing but awesome for me. He has been nothing but awesome for this entire program, the state of Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis and north Minneapolis. I mean, everything he's done when he's walked in, he's changed. He's a change agent."